Commercial Support

The Standards for Commercial Support are designed to make ensure that CE activities are independent and free of commercial bias. All Joint Accredited CE providers are responsible for complying with the ACCME Standards for Commercial Support and the policies that supplement the Standards.(

 If questions or problems arise with a potential/actual conflict of interest, commercial support or other issue, you must contact the Director of Accreditation and Compliance in the UAMS Office of Continuing Education for consultation and guidance.

We know this can be a confusing area of planning a CE activity.  Read below to learn more about the requirements.

Ensuring Independence in CE Activities
Disclosure and Conflict of Interest
What is or is not a Commercial Interest?
Commercial Support
Special Circumstances for Commercial Interests
Exhibitors, Vendors and Advertising


Target TextEnsuring Independence in CE Activities

  • CE activities must be free of the control of a commercial interest. This includes:
    • Identification of CE needs
    • Determination of educational objectives
    • Selection and presentation of content
    • Selection of persons and organizations to be in control of content
    • Selection of educational methods
    • Evaluation of the activity


  • Target TextEnsuring Independence in CE ActivitiesDisclosure and Conflict of Interest
    • Every person who is in a position to control content of a CE activity must disclose any financial relationships with commercial interests. This applies to the planning, presentation or evaluation of the activity.
    • A disclosure of financial relationships covers the last 12 months and includes the spouse or significant other of the person completing it.
      • Individuals who do not complete a disclosure or who refuse to complete a disclosure cannot participate in planning or implementing the activity.
    • Learners must be informed of the presence or absence of a conflict of interest prior to any educational content.
    • Conflicts of Interest must be resolved by the Office of Continuing Education and the CE course director of the specific activity.


  • What is or is not a Commercial Interest?
    • A Commercial Interest organization:
      • Produces, markets, sells or distributes health care goods or services consumed by or used on patients
      • Is owned or operated, in whole or in part, by an organization that produces, markets, sells or distributes health care goods or services consumed by or used on patients
      • Advocates for use of the products or services of commercial interest organizations
      • Provider of clinical services that is owned or controlled by a commercial interest
    • The following are not considered Commercial Interest organizations:
      • 501-C Non-profit organizations
      • Government organizations
      • Non-health care related companies
      • Liability and Health insurance providers
      • Group medical practices
      • For profit hospitals, rehabilitation centers and nursing homes
      • Blood banks
      • Diagnostic laboratories


  • Commercial Support
    • Commercial interest organizations may provide funding or other support for CE in accordance with these principles:
      • Commercial support must not influence the planning, development, content, implementation or evaluation of an educational activity.
      • Receipt of commercial support must be disclosed to the learners.
      • Commercial support may be used to pay for travel, honoraria, food, support for the learner audience and location expenses.
    • Commercial support may be:
      • Financial support-unrestricted grant, educational grant, donation or scholarship
      • In-kind support-materials, space or other non-monetary resources or services such as marketing, AV equipment or teaching tools.
    • Content integrity is ensured by meeting the following requirements for commercial support:
      • The commercial interest organization and Provider must have a written agreement setting forth the terms of the relationship and the support that will be provided.
      • All payments for expenses related to the educational activity must be made by the provider.
      • The provider must keep a record of all payments made using commercial support funding.
      • Commercial support funds may be used only to support expenses directly related to the educational activity.
      • The provider is responsible for maintaining an accounting of expenses related to commercial support.
      • A commercial interest organization may not jointly provide educational activities.


  • Special Circumstances for Commercial Interests
    • Employees of Commercial interests can be involved in planning or presenting under these special circumstances:
      • Control the content of accredited CE activities when the content of the activity is not related to the business lines or products of their employer.
      • When the content of the activity is limited to basic science research (e.g., pre-clinical research, drug discovery) or the processes/methodologies of research, unrelated to a specific disease or compound/drug.
    • The provider must be able to demonstrate that it has implemented processes to ensure commercial interests have no control of content that is related to clinical applications of the research/discovery or clinical recommendations.
    • Employees can participate as technicians in CE activities that teach the safe and proper use of medical devices.


  • Exhibitors, Vendors and Advertising
    • Revenue attained from exhibitor, vendor or advertising is not considered commercial support.
    • Commercial support is relevant when the money is directly tied to an educational activity awarding CE hours.
    • Product-promotion material or product-specific advertisement of any type is prohibited in or during CE activities, promotional activities must be kept separate from CE.
    • Advertisements and promotional materials cannot be displayed or distributed in the educational space immediately before, during, or after a CE activity.
    • Providers cannot allow representatives of Commercial Interests to engage in sales or promotional activities while in the space or place of the CE activity.
    • Advertisements and promotional materials will not be interleafed within the pages of the CE content. These may face the first or last pages of printed CE content.
    • Educational materials that are part of an activity, such as slides, abstracts and handouts, cannot contain any advertising, corporate logo, trade name or a message from a commercial interest.
    • Presentations must give a balanced view of therapeutic options. Use of generic names will contribute to this impartiality. If the content includes trade names, where available trade names from several companies should be used, not just trade names from a single company.


If questions or problems arise with a potential/actual conflict of interest, commercial support or other issue, you must contact the Director of Accreditation and Compliance in the UAMS Office of Continuing Education for consultation and guidance.